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How to Make Your Personal Budget

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Creating your first budget can be very overwhelming. So overwhelming since less than 50% of folks have a monthly budget. Truthfully, having a budget is worth the effort. Crafting a budget that you can sustain over the long term has been ultimately linked to building wealth, while at the same time helping you cut expenses and get out of debt.

When getting a budget together, you should take how much money you make a year and divide it into categories to figure out how much you can afford on a recurring basis, as well as how much you can regularly invest.

This stops you from spending money on things you need and want without seeing if you can truly afford them. This also stops you from overdrawing your account and using credit cards unnecessarily.

If you’re a first-time budgeter, here are some steps to make the procedure as painless and as smooth as possible.

Know How Much You Have
If you have accounts (checking, savings, investment), you need to know how much money is in each account and the interest rates and expenses of every one of them.

Determine Your Average Recurring Monthly Expenses
This can be the hard part for many folks. The best way to decide your monthly expenses is to create a list of household expenses for a month. Keep your receipts, your utility bills, and any other expense that occur during a 30-day period and divide these bills into categories.

Track, Monitor, and Be Disciplined
Keeping track of your budget takes an hour or so per week. But this will save you a lot of time over time. Once you have created a budget, you need to keep it in check. The understanding that you’re making good long and short term financial choices will give you with a great deal of comfort. It will take you from living from paycheck to paycheck to being able to see the long-term results of your budget.

Buying a Home: What You Should Know

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Life is full of exhilarating firsts. Your baby’s first steps. Your child’s first day of school. Your first love. Your first job. Your first place.

It doesn’t matter if you want to move out of your parents’ home for the first time or have your own home after renting for years, buying your 1st home is a huge step. It takes plenty of preparation when you’re at this place in your life and a little luck never hurts.

When you have no home to sell, you can take your time looking around and then jump. You could look at more than 50 condos and home to find the right one.

Renting instead of buying a house may seem like the most affordable or convenient way to go. It pays to do some easy research to know the advantages and disadvantages of renting vs. buying. You may find that purchasing a residence is really your best option.

Once you determine it’s the right time to purchase your first house, here are a few things you must do:

Accurately track your expenses

To really know the financial effect of owning a house, begin by tracking precisely how much you spend every month on all things, whether it’s entertainment or food. Write the figures down.

Set and stick to a strict budget

Once you have a precise picture of what you’re spending, craft a real budget. Remember to factor in your monthly debts and leave some room for savings. Anticipate shelling out at least 10% of the purchase price for a deposit and another 5% for closing. This budget will work as your roadmap to finding a house that is affordable. Once you have decided what your budget is, contact several agents and pick one that you feel a connection with. Get started on the exciting process of owning your own home!

The Top Budgeting Apps

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We all realize that keeping your budget balanced can not only aid you staying on track financially, but can also lessen your stress when it comes to your lifelong financial health. But if your system is a untidy folder of receipts or wads of cash in numerous wallets/purses, it may be time to rethink your strategy.

If your attention is more on saving your money and counting each penny, there a plan for that as well. There are many ways to save and it’s not just about clipping coupons or keeping tabs on your bank account with your bank app. There are savings apps for anything from investing to personal budgets to customize savings plans.

Here are some of the top money management apps, spending trackers, budgeting apps, and other financial tools for managing money. You can have a better handle on your daily, weekly, monthly, even yearly spending practices. Read on a gain back control of your finances.

If you’re still figuring out how to make a workable financial budget for your income you’re your lifestyle, these tools could change your mindset. A few may even increase your net worth.

Top Picks

  • Mint.com
  • BillGuard
  • The Rest of The List
  • The Birdy
  • You Need a Budget
  • Adaptu
  • HelloWallet
  • GoodBudget
  • Mvelopes
  • Pocket Expense
  • HomeBudget
  • Expensify
  • Level
  • Unsplurge
  • Toshl Finance
  • FamZoo

Mint.com is a fan favorite when it you talk about money managing apps. It assists in managing your saving, budgeting, spending, and earnings. It can even combine all your accounts, including you IRA and 401K.

BillGuard is another great money management tool and a fan favorite. This well-known budgeting app has two key purposes: to aid you in totally recognizing your spending habits and to protect your credit cards from falsified charges, two very crucial goals when it comes to trailing your spending.

Choosing the Right Financial Advisor

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Planning is key!

You finally want to hire a financial advisor. You know this is a vital decision, but you have no idea where to begin. The amount of financial information available is endless and getting started can be frightening. But the process can be easy if you divide it into steps.

Selecting an advisor type:

Almost anybody can refer to themselves as a financial advisor. Let’s begin by reducing the field. There are three basic types of advisors according to how they are paid: commission, fee-only, and fee-based.

Commission: Commission-based advisors (insurance agents, registered representatives, brokers) sell financial products like mutual funds, annuities, insurance and mutual funds, getting commissions on those products. They are often working for big financial institutions and have their Series 6 or Series 7. Because what they are paid is based on what they sell, there is a huge conflict of interest. It’s critical to be aware that the temptation of commission is there and it can play a part in their recommendations for you.

Fee-based: These advisors are somewhat new to the financial industry. Fee-based advisors are usually associated with a broker/agent and like the commission-based advisors, usually hold a license to sell insurance or investments for a commission. Fee-based advising is complex because like the fee-only advisor, the fee-based advisor offers financial planning for a fee. However, the vital difference is they also sell products and get paid commissions. So, there is still that big conflict of interest, because their fee-based recommendations could, and typically do, include buying products they get commissions on.

Fee-only: This is the only type of advisor recommended for complete financial planning and/or asset management. Fee-only advisors possess a fiduciary duty to work in the best interest of their clients. They only make money through hourly rates, flat fees, or a % of the assets they manage.

Is Opening a Franchise Worth the Money Invested?

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Hundreds of entrepreneurs take a leap of faith and invest in franchises as a way to get a part of the American dream. The temptation is possessing a proven brand concept and training and marketing support to increase the odds of start-up triumph. But for most, the main question each potential franchisee asks is: “How much money can I make?”

As part of a recent study, 50 franchisees reported on across the US offered annual gross sales figures, many going into the millions. But as part of the study, profit figures were reviewed for a big majority of star franchises. It was discovered that these franchises as a group average over 3 times the net income of the average U.S. franchisee.

For some, the benefit was beginning with a low-cost franchise and knocking the ball out of the park. Others were capable of generating a high return on investment, even at a bigger initial franchise investment. Remember, the franchisees on the list are stars, not just the average ones.

Sadly, numerous new franchise owners begin with improbable financial expectations and never accomplish the level of financial success they had dreamed of. It’s vital to know that depending on one financial figure gives a unrealistic picture of a franchise opportunity.

Keep the following tips in mind if you are a potential franchise business owner looking at opportunities.

Don’t be fooled by big, top-line numbers

As a business owner, your take home income will eventually come out of your business’s net profit or bottom line. While the gross sales/gross revenue of any company (“top line revenue”) may seem remarkable, it is crucial to know the profit margin of the business, the amount of money left over after all business expenses are paid out.

The result is your business bottom line most likely isn’t your bottom line.

How to Open a Savings Account for an Infant

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As a grandparent, you can help reduce some of your infant grandchild’s expenses by opening a savings account for her/him. Health care and college are just 2 examples of expenses that you can provide assistance with by consistently adding to the savings account. In addition, when your grandchild is older, you can aid in teaching them the value of saving by letting them help manage the account. Many banks provide savings accounts that are purposely tailored for kids.

Contact your bank to find out if it has savings accounts especially for children. Make a note of all incentives and benefits that are available and the requirements and minimal balance necessary to open the account.

Call other banks and inquire about their incentives and benefits to open a child’s savings account. Compare your bank’s incentives with the other banks and pick the one that best fits your needs.

Gather the necessary information to open the account. For instance, you need your grandchild’s social security number. If your grandchild doesn’t have a social security number, ask their parents to apply for one as quickly as possible. There are a few financial institutions that let you open an account for your grandchild without it as long as you give it sometime down the line.

Fill out the application and include yourself and/or the parents/guardians if you want them to be on the account. Even though you can visit a bank branch to open the account, many banks let customers fill out the paperwork online. Moreover, you can pick the date that you want your grandchild to gain access to the account on the application. This is very important because if you set it up for college, you want to make sure he or she doesn’t bother the money until then.

Think Twice About Early Retirement

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Most workers, even if they like their jobs, get excited at the thought of early retirement. They can swiftly come up with numerous reasons why they would be nuts not to take an early retirement if it was given to them. There are good things about taking an early retirement, but there are a few things you should think carefully about before you choose to end your working career.

The benefits of early retirement are obvious. Not having to work full-time means more time to do things you love more than work. The thought of devoting every day to doing things you love sounds too good to be true. Who would not enjoy hours to garden, read, have lunch/coffee with friends or indulge in a secret hobby. Taking an early retirement brings more time to travel and spend time with friends and loved ones.

You must take time to think with caution all the ways your life will be different due to an early retirement. Think beyond all the pleasures and freedoms you will enjoy and think about your financial situation for a moment. Do you have money in place that will be able to support you if you take early retirement? How will you pay for your home, cars, insurances, and travel desires? It’s much simpler to dream about the kind of life early retirement will bring than it is to pay for that kind of lifestyle. If you have a family, you must also think about the responsibilities you have to take care of and support them.

The foremost thing in deciding about early retirement is not to hurry to the decision. Take your time, consider all your options and understand who you are before making a big life change. If it is right for you, early retirement can bring joy and blessings. However, if you retire too early, you may regret it for the rest of your life.

The Need to Be Flexible in Your Retirement Plan

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When saving for retirement, you’ll want to make a detailed, yet realistic goal. After all, you need to understand how much money you should save. Even if you are young (20s or 30s), having retirement goals are vital, even if later on they may change.

To decide how much money you must save for retirement, there are several important questions that you first must ask yourself:

Where do you want to live? Do you want to relocate?

What type of home or living arrangement do you want?

Are there any hobbies/activities would you like to start?

Do you want to start a small business in retirement?

For these questions, you need to begin thinking about their costs. When doing so, also take into consideration basic living costs, like shelter, food, and transportation. Inflation should be taken into account as well.

A Financial Adviser can get you started

Once you have finished the above steps on how much you need to save for retirement, you will want to increase that amount. You should always save more money than you need. The reason for this is that the simple fact is that there aren’t any guarantees with retirement or an age increase. Your retirement spending plan should take into account flexibility, as there are many occurrences that can come about that call for you to be flexible with your spending.

As stated earlier, inflation should definitely be taken into consideration. The price of goods and services will only keep on rising as you age. Not taking into consideration this rise can make you not have enough retirement money. Online, you can find numerous tools that can help you figure out the approximated inflation rate at your time of retirement. Keep in mind, nonetheless, that these are only approximations. A retirement financial advisor can also give you these numbers, as well as assist you with setting up an accurate retirement plan.

Why Saving for Retirement is Crucial

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Sadly, many folks don’t know the importance of retirement planning. If you are one of these individuals, you need to continue reading on for info that will likely alter your outlook on planning and preparing for your retirement.

The biggest reason you should save for retirement is because it’s your life and livelihood. The amount of money that you put up for retirement will have a huge impact on how your lifestyle. Usually, retirement is the best time to obtain your goals and change your dreams into reality, but you can only do so if you are monetarily ready. If you’re not, you may be anxious about where you will live or where your next meal will come from, as opposed to thinking when is the best time to take a vacation.

Another critical reason you should begin saving for retirement is for your children. Even if you are twenty years old, not married, and no children, you must remember that there may come a time in your life when you have a husband and children. Those who don’t accurately plan and save for retirement put a big burden on their families. As a parent, it is your place to safeguard your children and not cause them to have their own financial difficulties because they have to pay for your retirement expenses.

Saving for retirement can also help guarantee that you’re well cared for. This is vital in terms of health. There a point in everyone’s life when his or her health begins to deteriorate with age. While you may be able to live on your own and care for yourself when you first retirement, there may come a time when you can no longer do so. If that time comes, you should be financially prepared. You should be able to afford the cost of long-term care. The price of long-term care can be high and it should be included in the cost of your retirement. Therefore, you should start saving now for retirement.

How to Find the Best Retirement Plan

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A retirement plan is a necessity if you’re to take pleasure and benefit from the time you’ve decided to retire.

More often than not, folks aren’t bothered about retirement plans. They just pass the time and think that retirement will ultimately take place, with or without retirement plan.

What they don’t realize is that creating a retirement plan is the most critical thing any working individual should deal with. What lies ahead is never too obvious for people who don’t have solid retirement plans.

What Is Retirement Plan?

Retirement plans are types of agreement that give people a nice amount of money by the time they have reached their retirement age. These amounts are enough to recompense their continuous struggle for existence even if they are no longer working or getting the kind of income they used to make before.

In many cases, retirement plans are provided by government, employers, trade unions, or some financial institutions such as insurance companies.

In essence, there are only two major types of retirement plans: defined contribution and defined benefit. These plans are categorized according to how the compensations are resolved.

Defined contribution denotes retirement plans that will give disbursements according to the amount of contributions that the benefactor has paid.

On the other hand, defined benefit refers to a particular type of retirement plan, wherein the disbursements are based on the flat rate as computed from the employee’s membership years and the amount of income received while employed.

Considering these facts, not all retirement plans are considered equal. Therefore, it is best to analyze your status and decide what type of retirement plan will work best for you. You need to think about some important factors to help you with your decision, like lifestyle, dependents, and monthly budget. But one way or another, you should be thinking about your retirement plan now. Don’t wait until retirement to try and deal with this.